In a world confused by gender ideology and with the attack on the idea of the traditional family, it is a difficult time to instill in children and teenagers to appreciate the need for strong, holy families. Even as my husband and I try to faithfully live out our vocation to Catholic marriage and parenthood and provide a solid foundation for them, I know that our teens still have questions about these issues. They are surrounded by confusing ideas and beliefs in our culture that threaten their understanding of the family as we believe and our Faith teaches that it should be. What are some ways we can reinforce our children’s acceptance of and confidence in the traditional family?
One way is to turn to the saints who exemplified traditional family values. With the Solemnity of St. Joseph approaching on March 19th, our family has been preparing together each evening for the Consecration to St. Joseph, using Fr. Donald Calloway’s formula in his book Consecration to St. Joseph, The Wonders of Our Spiritual Father. In each chapter, Fr. Calloway highlights a title of St. Joseph, and follows the order of the Litany of this great Saint. Last night, we read about the title, “Head of the Holy Family,” which examined St. Joseph’s role as husband and father in the Holy Family and explained the concept of a father’s authority in his family. Fr. Calloway began with the statement that, “Today, calling a man the “head’ of the family is frowned upon.” He explained that this doesn’t mean men or better or more important than women; only that their roles were intended by God to be different. He proposes that if more men begin to model their fatherhood on St. Joseph’s, the “crisis in manhood can be corrected.”
Our children are watching and listening to our examples as fathers and mothers. We need God’s help and the example and intercession of the saints to root out our faults and become better spouses and parents. What better saint to turn to as an example and an intercessor than the Head of the Holy Family, St. Joseph. He spoke no words in Scripture, yet his obedience, courage, and humility speak volumes if we take time to reflect upon his actions. He responded quickly and decisively when instructed by the angel in dreams to take the Virgin Mary as his wife, and to protect Jesus and Mary when they were threatened. He remained faithful until the end to his role as the leader of the Holy Family. We can trust in him when we need prayers and help with our own families’ needs and problems.
When we make our Consecration to St. Joseph as a family this year on his feast day, I plan to have a special meal and dessert and a celebration to honor our holy patron and that, hopefully, we can all attend Mass that day together to celebrate our Consecration. I hope that this festive observance will make an impression on our three girls so that they adopt this devotion to St. Joseph for themselves and continue to love and honor him. I am asking his intercession for all of our children, that they will find their own individual vocations. If they are called to marriage and family, I ask that he will guide them to devout and faithful husbands who, like St. Joseph are strong, faithful, and protective. I am thankful for my own “St. Joseph,” my husband, who has always been a steady and devoted provider for our family and has been a model of faith and virtue for our family.
Head of the Holy Family, Pray for Us.